Open Enrollment is the process by which a parent or guardian residing in an Iowa district may enroll their child(ren) into another Iowa school district under the terms and conditions of Iowa Code 282.18 (PDF) and Iowa Administrative Code 281-17 (PDF).

House File (HF) 2589 (PDF) eliminates the March 1 deadline for open enrollment. This change allows parents/guardians to apply for open enrollment at any time without the need for good cause. The receiving district may deny an open enrollment request if one of the following applies:

  • The application violates the district’s insufficient classroom space policy,
  • The district does not have the appropriate special education program,
  • The application would adversely affect the district’s implementation of a court-ordered desegregation plan, or
  • The student has been expelled or suspended.

If a parent/guardian moves and wishes for their student to continue at the original resident district under open enrollment (often known as the “continuation rule”), requests cannot be denied due to insufficient classroom space policies.

Additional Guidelines & Information

If a parent or guardian wishes to open enroll their child or children, they must:

  1. Complete an application (available in any Iowa public school district’s central office and on the Iowa Department of Education’s [Department] website),
  2. Submit an application for each child in their family, and
  3. Send a copy of the application to both the resident and receiving school districts.

Muscatine School District Contact Information

Muscatine Community School District, 2900 Mulberry Avenue Muscatine, Iowa 52761


Open Enrollment does not need to be renewed annually. If the receiving district remains the same, open enrollment to that district continues until the student graduates or drops out of school or until the parent or guardian notifies the district that they desire to terminate open enrollment (Iowa Admin. Code r. 281—17.8(5)).

Current Open-Enrolled Students

If a current open-enrolled student would like to open enroll in a new school district, the parent or guardian must:

File a new application with:

  • The district the student is currently attending and open enrolled in (receiving district),
  • The resident district, and
  • The district the student wants to attend; and

Indicate on the application that the child is currently open enrolled and would like to open enroll to a new school district.

The new district (alternate receiving district) will notify the parent or guardian, the resident district, and the previous receiving district of acceptance or denial (281—IAC 17.8(4)).

For the latest handbook and other information regarding open enrollment, go to the Iowa Department of Education’s website.